Proper tahara is necessesary to prepare for burial
I am writing representing myself, a 15-year-plus member of the Chevra Kadisha of Greater Pittsburgh. I was honestly shocked and dismayed by what I read in your recent issue about the dropping of taharas (hands-on preparation of the dead for burial) by another chevra kadisha (“Pittsburgh’s Jewish burial societies persevere amid pandemic,” Oct. 30).
The Greater Pittsburgh Chevra Kadisha never stopped doing taharas. Obviously, and in accordance with appropriate health considerations, we have taken additional precautions since the start of COVID-19, using bleach, distancing and more PPE than we did before COVID-19. I have had the honor of doing some of these taharas.
The Chevra Kadisha of Greater Pittsburgh is not the “Orthodox” chevra kadisha as the article labeled us. We serve all of Jewish Pittsburgh, regardless of the religious observance of whomever we are doing a tahara on. We treat each deceased person with equal respect, and we do all we can, in full accordance with Jewish law and in full accordance with necessary health measures. We perform hands-on taharas on all Jews and we never stopped.
A deceased Jewish person deserves a tahara. If the family of a deceased Jew wishes a proper tahara, they can contact the funeral home handling the arrangements for burial and request a tahara from the Chevra Kadisha of Greater Pittsburgh.